Post # 1
After my last post discussing how my Fiance possibly wasn’t going to visit his family for Christmas due to a really bad relationship with his dad (severe physical abuse from his dad when he was a child, and strained relationship ever since), it was helpful to hear everyone’s thoughts. I realized I didn’t understand what my Fiance must go through each time he is “expected” to visit. So I then told my Fiance I will support whatever he wants to do (ie: not visit his family).
Well, close to Christmas he DID decide to visit, although up until then he was wavering. I met him up there after Christmas and we stayed at his parents house for a week. It was a Disaster and we ended up leaving early.
I have never been around people who gossip so much about relatives, dwell on the negative, and who treat my Fiance like he is 5 years old and doesn’t have a voice or deserve to be listened to. The parents cut him off, tell him he can’t do this or that, are continually negative about things he talks about, and the father even advanced slightly towards him during some small issue the father started ranting about. (My Fiance is a large guy, 39 now, and could defend himself at this point in his life; but he told me he “knew that look” from his father).
Myself, I take an anti-depressant for some issues (anxiety, depression), and by the end of the week even with the medication I felt like I was at a bad place in my head. It was a terribly smothering, unpleasant environment.
My Fiance said that IF he wants to ever visit again, it will be a short visit.
It was so draining, and I can see now how my Fiance feels anxious even thinking about visiting, and especially when he’s actually in their presence.
Any similiar situations/advice?
Post # 2
I’m sorry you guys had to deal with this, but it was good of you to be there to support him. That’s all you can do going forward — be there as a rock for him, whether he wants to discuss his experiences of quietly move on from them.
Has your Fiance ever gone to counseling to work through what happened to him as a child? It may give him so peace as he moves forward.
Post # 3
jkat84: If you ever go back, don’t stay so long. You know the old saying about fish and company? After 3 days, both begin to stink. In this case it applies to the hosts.
Post # 4
I feel this way about my own family. I live as far as possible from them and see them about once a year. They make me very depressed and anxious and they have a ton of emotional issues. I need emergency therapy every time I see them! so I avoid. I spend more time with DH’s family, who are awesome and make me feel GOOD.
Post # 5
My husband and I love our families and I don’t think either of us have spent an entire week with them in over a decade. Unless you are flying to another continent, I would start with placing a 3 day, 2 night limit on visits.
Post # 6
I’d like to say never go back, but with family that’s really not possibe. Maybe you should talk about “always staying in a hotel” while visiting them. This will limit your stay, and give you both an escape from the toxic inviroment at least to sleep and eat breakfast together, gather your thoughts and revisit them the next day.
It will also help once you have children, they will be used to your hotel choice and you will have a place to go with the children if the family topics/discussions become too toxic. Rather then to feel you have to stay at their house with your babies.
Post # 7
If he wants to see them, I think shortening the visit and staying at a hotel would help a lot. They will likely be nasty about it, but they are nasty anyway, so what do you have to lose? Having a place to escape people like that is super important for you both.
Post # 8
This might not be a popular opinion but I don’t think you should be a neutral party in this next time around. The next time he is expected to visit, I think you should tell him honestly that this Christmas was a really horrible experience that was detrimental to both of you, and that you would really rather he not go–and if he really insists, that you limit your visit to a single day. It’s hard to disentangle yourself from toxic parents, and it might be best if you’re the voice of reason and discourging him from getting hurt rather than shrugging and saying it’s up to him.
Post # 9
His parents are abusive. Why is he visiting them?
Your husband is out of his physically and emotionally abusive childhood environment — he should stay out of it. His parents aren’t going to change unless a miracle happens. They are toxic, their house is toxic, and being there doesn’t do anything good for your husband or you.
If he can cut them off or keep them at arm’s length, that’s what he should do.
If contact has to be made, it needs to be short and to the point. Get in, get out.
Post # 10
I want to edit my post but can’t for some reason. The first time I posted, I admittedly skimmed OP’s original post. After reading other comments, I went back to the original post – after seeing his father was abusive, I would say limit your visits to never. I definitely did not intend to suggest you must visit abusive parents!